Wow, what a great surprise to see 'Ma'a al-Fidda
' make the list! One of the most utterly heart-wrenching and powerful films I have seen. A truly hard film to watch but a masterpiece of collaborative documentary film-making. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffDBsSPLKWM
My thoughts immediately after seeing the film two years ago (copy and pasted from the CFB):
One gets the sense that Mohammed is a deeply humanistic, benevolent, and insightful man. The ways in which people are swept up in constricting dichotomies that reinforce divisions and perpetuate the cycles of existence are subtly and unforgettably dealt with in 'Khutwa Khutwa' and this compassionate outlook is even evident in the shatteringly powerful and profoundly moving 'Ma'a al-Fidda', as this exiled son watches from afar, mourns, and assembles a portrait in harrowing images of his fragmented land. This collaboration with the extraordinarily brave Wiam Simav Bedirxan who is the embodiment of hope in a landscape of desolation and mutilation is probably one of the toughest-to-watch films I have ever entered into but there is a poetry (Simav means ''silvered water'' in Kurdish and the recurring focus on trickles of silvery water serves as a powerful and haunting embracing of the potential for revitalisation in even the most unfathomably traumatic situations) and humanity evident in the empathetic assembling of images of emptiness and suffering that touches one's heart and makes one weep for the good that exists in the hearts of people in such horrifying circumstances. The soft, evocative tones of Bedirxan as she surveys the destruction of Homs and films it all imparted a human dignity and wisdom that seems to be so in fitting with the astute observations of 'Khutwa Khutwa'. Two films that I will never forget.